The measure will need further approval for transfer from the Ottawa County Commissioners General Fund to the Sheriff's office to formalize.
MIAMI – Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd received $145,141 more in funding from Ottawa County Commissioners to fund his office's budget shortfall.
Floyd sent Undersheriff Dan Cook to the May 21 meeting of the Ottawa County Commissioners to address the commissioners and request additional funding for the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) Fiscal Year 2017/2018 budget.
Cook informed the commissioners the OCSO budget is underfunded and if additional funding was not approved by the commissioners it may have become necessary to make cuts in the current budget including the possibility of dropping a shift.
Cook was unable to answer more specific questions regarding the details of the request and the commissioners took no action until Floyd could be present.
At the next regular meeting of the commissioners this week, May 29, Floyd explained his department's budget shortfall and received approval from the Ottawa County Commissioners for $145,151 to help offset the shortage.
The measure will need further approval for transfer from the Ottawa County Commissioners General Fund to the Sheriff's office to formalize, which is on next week's agenda, according to the Ottawa County Clerk's office.
“We had spent quite a bit on over expenditures on the building (Ottawa County Jail and Sheriff's Office), and food for overpopulated inmates,” Floyd said in a phone interview Thursday. “In our initial fiscal budget for last year we asked for more because we knew what we were up against and the problems we were going to have with the jail, and we've still got a lot of problems we're trying to fix. We've addressed a lot of those problems, but we need some additional funds to help with payroll until June.”
Floyd said his Fiscal Year 2017/2018 budget of roughly $1.9 million was not enough to cover the additional expenses encountered through this fiscal year. The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office's 2018/2019 Fiscal year begins July 1.
“We basically ran out of money because of the problems we were fixing and the over expenditures that we had to address. It's not something we had a choice of doing,” Floyd said.
According to minutes from the last meeting, Floyd asked for funds to cover building repairs, inherited payroll comp hours, a wrecked vehicle and to feed inmates.
Each past sheriff serving in Ottawa County over the last decade or more has complained about the limited funding or lack of adequate funding for their budgets in regards to similar issues.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections billing also has an effect on the everyday operations of the Sheriff's Office, according to Floyd.
“It costs the County $35 a day per inmate. We have seen the jail inmate population as high as the 180s and averaged 160s most of the fiscal year. That cost alone is way more than we budgeted for of the approximately $1.9 million,” he said. “$35 a day per inmate for a full year is approximately $2,044,000 in cost alone.”
Feld operations are not addressed in this figure.
“The OCSO conducted 712 inmate transports alone, this cost alone is very high,” Floyd said.
Floyd said he received most of his request from the County Commissioners, but state statute and DOC's billing process make it difficult to determine where the budget stands for the next month until all accounting numbers are received. If DOC funds are received in time Floyd said he won't need to ask for as much. He is on next week's commissioner meeting agenda to address any further shortages.
“I'm the only department in the county that has to pay for everything. Everyone else that's in the Courthouse besides the commissioners don't pay utilities,” Floyd said. “And just for example, we had a major water leak and had $21,000 overages on water the water leak until we pinpointed it and got it addressed and fixed. We just replaced the boiler that was $36,000. It's an ongoing issue. There's always something going on with that jail.”
The sheriff said whatever additional funds are requested may then be subtracted from the next fiscal year budget and the use of DOC funds will offset the budget shortfall.
“I broke it all down for them as far as what we've spent and why we need additional funds,” Floyd said. “We put in almost $100,000 just in building repairs, it was like over $30,000 in food overages when we were running 180 inmates when we were only budgeted for 124,” Floyd said. “It goes on and on and on.”
Sheriff Floyd provided the following list of unexpected and unbudgeted costs paid out of his 2017/2018FY budget which included; $72,283 Building repair, contractor cost $34,452.53 food overage for overpopulation $31,833 to Craig County Sheriff Office to house inmates for being overpopulated, $25,000 overage on water for water break under the jail and repair, $26,990 for overtime in the jail and patrol and $20,000 to pay off a new charger that was wrecked during a pursuit.
Floyd Floyd is working on plans for the OCSO next year's fiscal budget.
“It was my goal to have adequate coverage of three deputies a shift when I came in office,” Floyd said. “In all reality, that isn't very many considering we patrol the entire county but we managed for the most part to meet that goal. Due to budgeting, I will have to reduce staffing to two a shift to overset cost. The OCSO will switch to 12-hour shifts starting the July 1 to assist with this concern as well. The last thing I want is for the people of Ottawa County to not have adequate law enforcement coverage. Other concerns are SQ 780-781 that we have been dealing with the last year. I have I noticed a tremendous change in society, especially when it comes to consequences for crimes committed.”
Floyd took office at the end of 2016 and he believes communication Is key in such situations.
“The best outcome when dealing with budgeting issues is communication across the board. The OC Commissioners have been very helpful and have given much insight for our everyday issues we face. Law enforcement agencies nationwide are tightening their belts per say to offset costs. I will continue to strive to better our county every day and give the people a sheriff's office they can be proud of, “ Floyd said. “ We try our best to do what we can with what resources we have.”
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.